By A Web design Company
Nathaniel’s, is a family-owned business that started in the garage of husband-and-wife team Nelly and Fernando Co.
They started with siopao and siomai- ordinary merienda fare that immediately saw a following with customers flocking to their San Fernando home as early as 1994.
Nathaniel’s is now going mainstream, but it takes pain that the food they serve is as good as what they served from 1994.
The food they serve, has the Pampango touch- its culinary expertise.
Nathaniel’s is quietly expanding its stores from its comfort zone in San Fernando to more areas in Metro Manila where it now has one branch, on Timog avenue.
Nelly shaped Nathaniel’s in 1994 at first selling siopao to canteens, concessionaires and bus stops.
She had to forego plans to pursue her childhood dream to go into baking and opening a cake shop to augment her husband’s grocery delivery business and save then the fledgling family supermarket from going bankrupt.
Due to huge demand for siopao and eventually siomai, customers would pick up their orders from their home, usually waiting in their garage.
It was the couple’s eldest, Ferdinand, now FNC-Nathaniels Foods Corp. general manager, which prodded his parents to convert the garage into a small canteen to cater to the waiting customers while continuing to service clients by-order. Eventually, Fernando stopped his rolling grocery business to help in the growing business.
From there, Nelly expanded the offerings to other merienda fare. She improved on her buko pandan salad recipe which is now the company’s bestseller. It is also now being carried by select branches of SM Hypermarket.
Between 1996 and 2001, growth was slow as Nathaniel’s concentrated on delivery and small canteen.
“We never thought of expanding. My mother was happy with the way things were because she had simple needs and dreams,” Ferdinand said.
The home-based business was earning P30, 000 monthly at that time.
“My parents honed me and my siblings to handle the business as something we would inherit to give us livelihood and which we would operate ourselves. But I had something different in mind,” he said.
Ferdinand, a mechanical engineering graduate from De La Salle University doing menial and clerical jobs for his parents after graduation in 2001, saw an opportunity to make a big leap.
By 2005, again on the prodding of Ferdinand, the family took out a loan – with their family home as collateral – and raised P3 million to put up a building on its first store/commissary on Olongapo-Gapan road.
Ferdinand then began professionalizing the operations, shifted the business into a formal corporation and give it structure.
By this time, Manila brands started coming in the city.
San Fernando had very few restaurants serving “Kapampangan” merienda fare. But the fact that the first store was located along the Olangapo-Gapan road, it was easily accessible and was very visible helping it to become known.
From 15 employes, the commissary now has over 100 workers, making Nathaniel’s products delivered fresh daily from San Fernando.
Nathaniel’s has expanded to Marquee Mall and Puregold in Dau town.
The stores has another over 100 workers.
In October, Nathaniel’s would open another store in Alabang.
Ferdinand’s vision is to open five to seven stores in four years to make them manageable.
Ferdinand said the company is also reluctant to franchise its stores as it has yet to set up a system that would support the franchises; and is not ready to set up in Manila malls.
“We want to keep the homemade taste and feel of our food and restaurants. We dont want to lose our identity,” Ferdinand said.